LONDON Hamburg, Germany-based copper producer Aurubis AG
posted flat net income in its fiscal-year 2012, as stronger
treatment and refining charges and recycling throughput offset
an 80-percent decline in product earnings, the company said
Consolidated net income was 207 million ($270.6 million)
in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, down 2 percent year over year,
as stronger revenues from concentrates and scrap processing
offset an 80-percent drop in earnings from the products
business. The products unit contributed 10.1 million
($13.2 million) to total operating earnings before tax of
296 million ($387 million).
The copper smelter produced 1.147 million tonnes of cathode
across its primary and secondary units, unchanged from output
in the 2010-11 period.
Wire rod and cast shapes output fell 18 percent and 17 percent,
respectively, while flat-rolled product volumes were 1 percent
lower, responding to a progressive decline in downstream demand
throughout the year.
European markets for copper products were negatively
influenced by the growing economic uncertainty in the eurozone
and a weak economic trend in important export markets during
the course of the fiscal year, Aurubis told investors
Our customers were more cautious in their purchases and
demanded higher delivery flexibility. The initial optimism in
the German semis industry was put into perspective as 2012 went
on, as end customers worked below capacity in some cases,
the company said.
Aurubis expects the copper products market to stabilize at the
lower levels it has seen this year, while competition for
business may intensify, executive board member Stefan Boel told
sister publication Metal Bulletin
this month (
amm.com, Dec. 6
The weaker performance in products markets was offset almost
completely by higher earnings from primary and secondary
production, as treatment and refining charges improved and
competition for scrap moderated.
The company saw a strong improvement in concentrates supply
toward the end of the year, after mine strikes initially
While spot treatment and refining charges rallied from severely
depressed levels, Aurubis only bought a low number
of concentrates on the better spot terms, as it was well
supplied under annual contracts, the company said.
Benchmark treatment and refining charges were set by
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. at $63.50 per
tonne/6.35 cents per pound for 2012, while in the spot market,
terms increased from about $20 per tonne/2 cents per pound to
$80 per tonne/8 cents per pound in the 12 months ending Sept.
The company has said it is targeting a benchmark of $80 per
tonne/8 cents per pound for 2013, while Freeport is rumored to
view $70 per tonne/7 cents per pound as acceptable.
Overall, we expect positive conditions for Aurubis on the
copper concentrate markets with a global increase in the
treatment charge level, Aurubis said Thursday, although
it added that production will be affected by a maintenance
outage at the Hamburg smelter scheduled for September of next
While average copper prices dropped to $7,844 per
tonnedown 14 percent in dollar termsthis slide was
mitigated by a strengthening of the euro throughout the year,
It expects high but volatile copper prices in 2013;
as a result, it also foresees continued strength in the
availability of copper scrap.
We can benefit from this market in the future due to the
technical possibilities in the use of complex materials, and we
expect full utilization of these smelting capacities,